Music, Memories, and Fun With the Unforgettables

“Dementia is not at the forefront. In this activity, the person is at the forefront,” Dr. Mary Mittelman explains.
A chorus group in New York is bringing the benefits of music to people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers and friends. They unwind and connect by singing in the Unforgettables.
Dr. Mary Mittelman from the NYU Langone Medical Center started the group in 2011 to aid individuals with ADRD and their caregivers.
It’s a welcoming environment where everyone has a chance to shine. In this NYU Langone Medical Center article, Mittelman says that the group is “a wonderful place to be, where no one feels stigmatized." The lively chorus adds spice into members’ social lives as they learn over a dozen songs for each performance and enjoy dancing.
Mittelman shares in the MetroFocus video below that the singing group “emphasizes the remaining strengths of the people with dementia.” Members move to the rhythm and move closer to each other. The melodies lift spirits and help kindle memories.
A Columbia University Teachers College article shows that the Unforgettables are still going strong. Co-conductor and director Tania Papayannopoulou says rehearsals are the heart and focal point for the Unforgettables. “They come to enjoy themselves, to let go of stress, to enjoy singing” and “everyone feels at home.” This fellowship binds them together.
You can learn more about the group and hear some of their music in the video below and in the full NYU Langone Medical Center video.
Also watch one of Kim Warchol’s touching experiences of songs stirring memories in a person with ADRD.


Top image from the Unforgettables’ Facebook page.
Aryn Lietzke Image
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“Sometimes, letting someone know the depth of your empathy by being there, by being a sympathetic sounding board for their emotions, is all that’s needed for that moment.”